I never go alone anywhere.
But this one didn’t go as planned. Me and my friend were planning to go for a trek in Cherokee National Forest. But he turned down at the last moment. That left me to go on my own.
By noon I reached the top of the Cherokee mountains. Up at the top, it was a bit cold. On the way, I enjoyed every moment with the greens of the mountains. Of the many greens, American Basswood and Silverbell are my favorites. They are quite opposite. Have you seen American Basswood? It is the most favorite of bees. The bees extract nectar from its flowers. The wood is very lightweight and odorless. Pests like Japanese beetle are fond of these trees. Carolina Silverbell is another small one that is usually either rounded or pyramidal or vase-shaped. No pest show interest on this one.
A forest could have a lot of secrets. Have you heard of Cicadas? They are a kind of insects that appear once in either 13 or 17 years. Until that time they stay beneath the soil and wait for the right time. Researchers relate this phenomenon to Darwin’s survival. Pay attention to these numbers, 13 or 17. Do they ring a bell in you? Nah? They are prime numbers. It means a predator that might want to feed these Cicadas would have to appear in the exact same 13 or 17 years gap. Imagine what would happen to a predator if these insects were not available for 12 years? Food cycle of these predators would have to wait for 13 long years which is against nature’s design which allows the insect species to survive without a predator. Cool!!
Coming back to the story, by the time I touched the top, I had bothered my ankles a little too much. To my disappointment, I had already lost my phone signal. So I was thought to take some rest and continue my descent from the top. But moments later, I found the small lamps that were there to help the trekkers find way back to the foot of the mountains lost their breath. Suddenly clouds appeared from nowhere and the light from the sky dimmed.
Fear engulfed me instantly. With no light and no signal, I wondered what I could do if I was stuck on the way back. After resting a while, pain in my ankles didn’t seem to fall. I thought I made a mistake by resting a while. Had I continued to walk, I probably might have been halfway through on the way back to the bottom.
I realized I would not be able to walk immediately and that I might need long rest. I recalled my engineering classes in electricals and electronics. I thought if I worked on the lamp, it could buy me time till next morning so that I can walk down to the bottom in bright daylight. I worked on the lamp patiently. They at first flickered a lot. With more and more work, at one point, the filament gave up and the bulbs bursted.
There was only an hour left for me to run back to the foot of the trails. I took the map of the trails. There was a river that ended up into a falls that touched the foot of the trails. I got an idea instantly. I could yield myself to the stream of water and I could be easily taken to the foot of the mountain by the flowing water.
According to the map, an entry point to the river was not very far. I just had to leave the trail and climb down through the bushes for some 15 minutes. I wondered what kind of insects I might run over on the way. It was at first difficult with paining ankles but I was soon through. I saw the river and I could not hold. I immediately jumped into the water and with joy I let myself carried away with the stream. WIth one hell of a throw, the waterfall threw me at the foot of the mountain. I recollected myself from the water. At the shore, I saw a home. I badly wanted to get my clothes dried. I stood up from the water and approached the home. There seemed no one in the hall but the TV was running.
In the local channel, a lady in her mid-thirties was reading a local news.
“In a bizarre observation this noon, the lamps that guided trekkers at Cherokee mountain trail were seen flickering and eventually bursted. Some trekkers reported that they heard footsteps of some evil spirit through the bushes……..”
I no longer cared ever since this local channel ignored to telecast the murders of the two of us in Palestine war.